(cba:news) AM CVn... one last push

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Fri May 7 06:30:46 EDT 2021

Hi CBAers,

Apologies for the (proverbial) radio silence.  I recently returned to 
regular classroom teaching after a year's break... and what seemed so 
natural in 2019 now seems Herculean.  Half the students scattered around 
the world, half live (seated in a vast room with 90% of seats blocked), 
cameras reducing me to insect-size, and practically no opportunity for 
feedback.  Masks, distancing, computers monitoring all buildings - and 
we thought PC was bad!  It's even more grim for students... but on the 
bright side, we effusively thank each other for helping us with our 
slow, uncertain emergence from isolation.

I'm sure that many of you have similar stories - which I'd be interested 
in hearing.

The last (at least for now) piece of the AM CVn puzzle is the two 
drifting superhumps.  Do they drift in phase, in anti-phase, or 
uncorrelated?  Physics seems to demand "anti-phase".  But this year - 
our best, and therefore anyone's best - suggests"in phase".  The drift 
is SLOW, so you really need a full oberving season (~5 months) to get 
the answer.  We're close... but restoring AM CVn to high-importance (=> 
LONG nightly runs) would much more accurately define the signal phases 
in this last month of observation, before short summer nights stop us. 
I really, really want to nail this down!

Weekend respite coming up... and I'll comment on the wider list of good 
targets.  Mostly old novae, supplementing ENrique's mostly-IP list.)

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